The number of sexual harassment claims in California has been booming in recent months, largely thanks to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements promoted by Hollywood’s biggest celebrities.
Although the problem of sexual harassment is not new in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, the Hollywood scandal and countless exposés detailing wrongful actions on the part of influential men, actors, producers, directors, TV personalities, and other employers and co-workers have given women across the United States one more reason to come forward to bring their harassers, abusers and gropers to justice.
But not everyone has succeeded…
Earlier this week, one of America’s most popular TV presenters, Ryan Seacrest, was accused of sexual harassment by a former personal stylist.
Suzie Hardy went public with her allegations in an interview with Variety, claiming that Seacrest made a series of unsolicited sexual and aggressive advances on her, including groping her vagina. The alleged harassment and abuse took place when Hardy worked with the TV presenter on E! News from 2007 to 2013.
But it looks as if Seacrest may be off the hook even despite the rather detailed allegations of Hardy. Last November, Seacrest was the one who told the media that there were allegations against him after he had been contacted by Hardy’s Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer. Seacrest denied the claims at the time.
Earlier in February, E! announced that it had concluded an internal investigation into Hardy’s claims, finding “insufficient” evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the TV presenter.
It’s unclear if Seacrest, who is being accused of slapping the woman, grabbing her vagina, forcibly throwing her on a bed and rubbing up against her with an erection, is going to be held accountable for his wrongful conduct.
People on social media seem to be divided on the matter, but our best sexual harassment attorneys in Los Angeles at JML Law say that even though Seacrest denies the claims and that there was an internal investigation into Hardy’s allegations, the woman could still file a sexual harassment lawsuit.
The thing about internal investigations is that there is always a risk that they can be biased and keep certain details in secret, silence witnesses and other victims, turn a blind eye to evidence, just to help save the reputation of the employer or influential employee being accused of wrongful conduct and/or help the accused avoid responsibility.
Under California Fair Employment and Housing Act, all types of sexual harassment in the workplace are a violation of the law. Workplace sexual harassment can take two forms: quid pro quo harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
Let’s delve into each type of sexual harassment in employment.
Quid pro quo literally translates to “something for something,” and in the realm of law refers to the type of sexual harassment in employment when an employer, supervisor, manager or another employee who is superior to the victim, threatens the subordinate with an adverse employment action if she/he refuses to perform a sex act.
Adverse employment action can include a bad review, termination, demotion, and even missed the opportunity of getting a promotion in exchange for sexual favors.
If you’re confused about whether or not you have become a victim of quid pro quo harassment in the workplace, seek the legal advice of a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney to speak about your particular case. Here at JML Law, we respect your right to confidentiality.
The second type of sexual harassment in employment is creating a hostile work environment, and, as opposed to quid pro quo, can be caused by employers, supervisors, and others who are superior to the victim as well as co-workers and colleagues who are in an equal employment position and cannot take adverse employment action against the victim for refusing to perform a sex act.
An employer or employee can create a hostile work environment by engaging in unwelcome conduct based on sex and making it impossible or difficult for the victim to continue performing his/her duties at work.
This type of sexual harassment includes but is not limited to verbal sexual advances, written harassment, unsolicited physical contact, inappropriate behavior, touching, making sexist jokes, making repeated requests to go on a date, displaying sexually suggestive objects or posters, drawing offensive or derogatory pictures, unwanted flirting, using slurs or offensive words, and many others.
Only a skilled sexual harassment lawyer can determine whether or not your case constitutes harassment in the workplace and entitles you to file a claim against the harasser or abuser.
Don’t let the harassers get away with their wrongful conduct against you and continue engaging in unwelcome conduct against dozens, hundreds or even thousands of other women for years to come.